New Ukrainian president has ambiguous relationship with church


Religiia v Ukraine, 22 April 2019


Vladimir Zelensky, who was elected president of Ukraine on 21 April 2019, informed voters on the eve of the election that he thinks well of the tomos about autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and he considers it not only President Petro Poroshenko's achievement, Religiia v Ukraine reports.


During the debate with Poroshenko in the Olympic stadium on 19 April, Zelensky literally declared (in translation from Ukrainian): "As regards the tomos, this is a victory for Ukraine. But it seems to me that this is a victory primarily of Filaret, who fought for the Ukrainian church back before you became president. Back in the time when you were a parishioner of the Moscow patriarchate."


Earlier, on 4 April, an advisor to Zelensky for legal matters, Irina Venediktova, stated at a press conference: "Ukraine is a secular state, but for our self-identity the receipt of the tomos was most important. Therefore these are things on which nobody will encroach but will support by all possible means that the state has. The state cannot tread on the territory of sacred religious things, but it is obligated to protect them. Vladimir Zelensky will do everything in order to protect this mighty achievement."


Despite this, on the day of the election, 21 April, without awaiting the counting of votes, UPTsMP Metropolitan of Zaporozhe Luka, who earlier threatened the head of the Novonikolaev district state administration with a curse for his support of autocephaly and campaigned against Poroshenko, published on the official website of the diocese congratulations to Zelensky for "an undoubted victory in the presidential election," and he assured him of "prayerful intercession."


In his congratulations published on 22 April, the head of the UPTsMP, Metropolitan Onufrey, also says to Zelensky: "Your stated priorities for the development of the country coincide with the hopes and aspirations of our people."


Meanwhile, observers earlier explained "why Zelensky is frightening for Orthodoxy." In an interview with RBK-Ukraine on 17 April, Vladimir Zelensky confirmed that he is a loyal supporter of abortions and the legalization of marijuana, prostitution, and gambling. (tr. by PDS, posted 22 April 2019)


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